"The NHS belongs to the people."
So says it on the first line of the website detailing the constitution.
That doesn't always feel correct, though, when you're battling health care professionals to get the birth you are entitled to.
Below are salient points from the document which I would recommend you read. Please go to the web address at the bottom to read the document for yourself if you need to. I can also help with advocacy, and signpost you to specialists where necessary, if you are finding difficulties in your relationship with health care professionals.
The Seven Key Principles
1. The NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all
2. Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay
3. The NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism
It provides high quality care that is safe, effective and focused on patient experience; in the people it employs, and in the support, education, training and development they receive; in the leadership and management of its organisations; and through its commitment to innovation and to the promotion, conduct and use of research to improve the current and future health and care of the population. Respect, dignity, compassion and care should be at the core of how patients and staff are treated not only because that is the right thing to do but because patient safety, experience and outcomes are all improved when staff are valued, empowered and supported.
4. The patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does
It should support individuals to promote and manage their own health. NHS services must reflect, and should be coordinated around and tailored to, the needs and preferences of patients, their families and their carers.(...)Patients, with their families and carers, where appropriate, will be involved in and consulted on all decisions about their care and treatment. The NHS will actively encourage feedback from the public, patients and staff, welcome it and use it to improve its services.
5. The NHS works across organisational boundaries
6. The NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money
7. The NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves
Working together for patients
Patients come first in everything we do. We fully involve patients, staff, families, carers, communities, and professionals inside and outside the NHS. We put the needs of patients and communities before organisational boundaries. We speak up when things go wrong.
Respect and dignity
We value every person – whether patient, their families or carers, or staff – as an individual, respect their aspirations and commitments in life, and seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities and limits. We take what others have to say seriously. We are honest and open about our point of view and what we can and cannot do.
Commitment to quality of care
We earn the trust placed in us by insisting on quality and striving to get the basics of quality of care – safety, effectiveness and patient experience – right every time. We encourage and welcome feedback from patients, families, carers, staff and the public. We use this to improve the care we provide and build on our successes.
We ensure that compassion is central to the care we provide and respond with humanity and kindness to each person’s pain, distress, anxiety or need. We search for the things we can do, however small, to give comfort and relieve suffering. We find time for patients, their families and carers, as well as those we work alongside. We do not wait to be asked, because we care.
We strive to improve health and wellbeing and people’s experiences of the NHS. We cherish excellence and professionalism wherever we find it – in the everyday things that make people’s lives better as much as in clinical practice, service improvements and innovation. We recognise that all have a part to play in making ourselves, patients and our communities healthier.
We maximise our resources for the benefit of the whole community, and make sure nobody is excluded, discriminated against or left behind. We accept that some people need more help, that difficult decisions have to be taken – and that when we waste resources we waste opportunities for others.
Access to health services
You have the right to receive care and treatment that is appropriate to you, meets your needs and reflects your preferences.
Quality of care and environment
You have the right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, in a properly approved or registered organisation that meets required levels of safety and quality.
You have the right to be cared for in a clean, safe, secure and suitable environment.
You have the right to receive suitable and nutritious food and hydration to sustain good health and wellbeing.
You have the right to expect NHS bodies to monitor, and make efforts to improve continuously, the quality of healthcare they commission or provide. This includes improvements to the safety, effectiveness and experience of services.
Respect, consent and confidentiality
You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with your human rights.
You have the right to be protected from abuse and neglect, and care and treatment that is degrading.
You have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any physical examination or treatment unless you have given valid consent. If you do not have the capacity to do so, consent must be obtained from a person legally able to act on your behalf, or the treatment must be in your best interests.
You have the right to be given information about the test and treatment options available to you, what they involve and their risks and benefits.
You have the right of access to your own health records and to have any factual inaccuracies corrected.
You have the right to privacy and confidentiality and to expect the NHS to keep your confidential information safe and secure.
You have the right to be informed about how your information is used.
You have the right to request that your confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment and to have your objections considered, and where your wishes cannot be followed, to be told the reasons including the legal basis.
You have the right to make choices about the services commissioned by NHS bodies and to information to support these choices. The options available to you will develop over time and depend on your individual needs.
NHS pledges to:
Involvement in your healthcare and the NHS
You have the right to be involved in planning and making decisions about your health and care with your care provider or providers, including your end of life care, and to be given information and support to enable you to do this. Where appropriate, this right includes your family and carers. This includes being given the chance to manage your own care and treatment, if appropriate.
You have the right to an open and transparent relationship with the organisation providing your care. You must be told about any safety incident relating to your care which, in the opinion of a healthcare professional, has caused, or could still cause, significant harm or death. You must be given the facts, an apology, and any reasonable support you need.
You have the right to be involved, directly or through representatives, in the planning of healthcare services commissioned by NHS bodies, the development and consideration of proposals for changes in the way those services are provided, and in decisions to be made affecting the operation of those services.
Complaint and redress
You have the right to have any complaint you make about NHS services acknowledged within three working days and to have it properly investigated.
You have the right to discuss the manner in which the complaint is to be handled, and to know the period within which the investigation is likely to be completed and the response sent.
You have the right to be kept informed of progress and to know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint, including an explanation of the conclusions and confirmation that any action needed in consequence of the complaint has been taken or is proposed to be taken.
You have the right to take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman or Local Government Ombudsman, if you are not satisfied with the way your complaint has been dealt with by the NHS.
You have the right to make a claim for judicial review if you think you have been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body or local authority.
You have the right to compensation where you have been harmed by negligent treatment.
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